Cultivating Leaders, Changing Lives ...
We're designing a brand new university campus in a rain forest in Africa. This blog follows Schmidt Associates' journey as we visit the site in Cameroon for the very first time, and will continue as we progress.
The university must be totally sustainable—producing its own food, generating its own power, and handling its own waste. The new campus represents opportunity for the people of Cameroon. Please check back often as we share this adventure!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Photos Day 3
After the harrowing trek into Tali the night before, morning over the rainforest was quite the sight. For me, opening the shutters and looking out upon the fog shrouded forest was one of my fondest memories of the trip. I even found it in my heart to forgive the rooster that had been trying since 4:00 AM to get me out of bed. Although I particularly enjoyed the next meal that featured chicken.
After breakfast, we ventured out to the site. To get there, we drove about 30 minutes in the 4x4's through the jungle before we had to get out and hike for about another 45 minutes to reach the location of the proposed Phase I site. Many of the men from Tali joined us, and helped clear the path with their machetes. I was humbled by the work that they had put in prior to our arrival to make the site accessible. Along our walk, we finally got to see the much hyped "Big Tree". We had been hearing about the "Big Tree" for months prior to the trip. Usually in a sentence like, "Oh yeah, I remember that. It was just South of the Big Tree." This lead to much knee slapping among those of us who had not been to the site. After all, it is a rain forest, and the "Big Tree" doesn't seem like a very useful wayfinding device.
And then this ...
US: "Um ... That IS a Big Tree!"
And this ...
Who's laughing now?
Wandering off the path was never really an option since the density of the rain forest made this bad decision impossible. This density is also what makes the work the people of Tali accomplished (clearing the path and the Phase I site) so incredible.
African University Field Team
Aside from locating and marveling at the Big Tree, we did manage to get some real work done. We asked the team in Tali to stake the boundary of our property, to drive a steak every 100 M, and then to stake out a tighter grid inside the purposed Phase I site. We used the handheld GPS to record the coordinates of these stakes so that we would have accurate site data that could be uploaded to the computer and Google Earth.
Welcome to Campus!
As tired as we all were, we still had more to do. After dinner, we went to the Tali Town Hall for a meeting with the village. Wayne and William both updated the village on the progress of the project and the purposed Master Plan. Also, the village Chief presented Cathy (Treasurer) with a monetary donation that the people of Tali had managed to raise. This was a very heartwarming moment, and illustrated the commitment of the people to this project.